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Easy pickings in Lubbock for Cats

Texas Tech scored the game’s first basket Saturday, but it was a lead short lived as the Wildcats roared to an easy 85-57 road victory. The Wildcats had five players score in double figures, led by Nick Johnson’s season-high 18 points. The Red Raiders, on the other hand, had no answer for Arizona’s defense as Texas Tech made just 22-of-63 field goal attempts to lose for the first time this season.

Solomon Hill matched his season average of 14 points in Saturday's 85-57 win over Texas Tech.

Arizona (5-0, 1-0 away) entered the game averaging 85.3 points per game. They matched their season-long effort tonight, shooting a crisp 54.5 percent from the floor. The Wildcats were 30-for-55 from the field in a relentless offensive showcase before a Texas Tech crowd celebrating a “white out”.

Texas Tech (4-1, 4-1 home) trailed 53-28 early in the second half before a 14-2 scoring run trimmed Arizona’s double-digit advantage to just 13 points. However, Arizona responded with a 14-2 scoring run of its own to eventually build back a comfortable 68-44 lead with just over nine minutes to play.

Johnson, who is making a habit of filling out the stat each this season, had 18 points and five rebounds for the Cats. His season-high scoring was a feat matched by freshman forward Grant Jerrett who posted a career-high 11 points thanks to a 3-Point basket and a 4-for-4 effort from the foul line. Frontline mate Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona’s 7-foot center, also posted a career-high 13 rebounds to go along with six points.

Arizona led 13-11 entering the game’s first television timeout. Exiting the timeout, Solomon Hill, who finished with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, hit a 3-Pointer to put the Wildcats up five points. Another trey by Hill with 8:21 to play gave the Wildcats a 30-18 advantage as the Wildcats would continue to stretch their lead and eventually enter the locker room up 45-28 at the break.

For the second game in a row, Tarczewski picked up his third foul minutes into the second half and for the second game in a row it didn’t matter.

The Wildcats scored the first eight points of the second half to lead by 25 points at 53-28. Texas Tech would soon march its way back into the game, albeit temporarily, with a 14-2 scoring run to cut into Arizona’s lead at 55-42 with just under 13 minutes to play. However, four quick points by Johnson spurred the Wildcats to its own decisive scoring run and with over nine minutes remaining the Wildcats led comfortably, 68-44 following Jerrett’s lone three-point basket.

Arizona led by 30 points with 5:59 to play, but didn’t take its foot off the gas pedal until two free throws by Brandon Ashley and four straight points by Kevin Parrom gave the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at 81-45.

Ashley scored 12 points for the Wildcats in his third start of the season. Mark Lyons was the fifth Wildcat to score in double figures with 14 points.

Texas Tech was led by Jaye Crockett’s 12 points and six rebounds. Kader Tapsoba and Josh Gray scored seven and six points, respectively, in a tough shooting night for the Red Raiders.

Arizona, which has relied on solid defense the past few years to survive in games, is now turning in balanced efforts on both ends of the floor to produce its fourth-straight rout of the season. Texas Tech shot 34.9% from the floor, including a 6-for-21 effort from behind the arc. Arizona also outrebounded the Red Raiders 37-26.

Arizona next plays on Tuesday, Dec. 4 against Southern Mississippi.

Follow me on Twitter @GaryRandazzo, and follow the website @WSRArizona.

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